Game Plan Japan News Report 05.16.12
Posted by Ernest Lin on 05.16.2012
Keiji Inafune's new PS Vita game Soul Sacrifice revealed, two new Tales games on the way, Taiko Drum Master 3DS getting guest characters, new iOS game Kotomon from Rez and Child of Eden veterans, Usagi Drop rolling into Katamari, & more!
Konnichiwa and welcome to another Game Plan Japan! Every week I will be bringing you the top stories about games from a small country named Japan. Some games I report on you will know of. Other games you will never have heard of and will never make it stateside.
Today, I will be leaving for Tokyo, Japan for 3 weeks! As I write this, I am still not packed plus I still need to go shopping for several more things. When it comes to last minute packing, I'm second to none. Not looking forward to the flight though.
E3 updates: I am confirmed for 2 of the Big 3 press conference - Microsoft and Nintendo. Sony's invite is on the way. I will be at Electronic Arts' press conference for sure and Ubisoft most likely once I receive my invite. As for new appointments from last week, I have added Activision and Bethesda with Tecmo Koei's Dead or Alive 5 appointment in the process of scheduling!
Keiji Inafune's New PS Vita Game Soul Sacrifice Revealed
Keiji Inafune, the man behind Megaman, Onimusha, and Dead Rising, has created an entirely new game for PS Vita named Soul Sacrifice. This is the PS Vita game that he teased a few months back during the Game Developers Conference. For a quick look at the game, check out the trailer below!
Your character in Soul Sacrifice is a slave of a cruel magician and is about to be sacrificed when a strange "Golam Book" appears. The "Golam Book" in reality is a monster who grants your character the ability to play battles of the past depicted in its book. These past battles are Soul Sacrifice's quests and are fought between monsters and magicians. It takes a Fullmetal Alchemist approach to the magic system by requiring equivalent exchange. Thus, objects must be sacrificed to conjure magic and even body parts must be given up for more powerful spells. Objects in the environment such as rocks, trees, and more can be sacrificed even. Your character will face death if he cannot provide adequate sacrifice for magic. Use the a lot of powerful magic too quickly, your character will lose his human form. Eventually, once you use a lot of powerful magic, your character becomes a monster himself.
You won't have to face quests along since Soul Sacrifice will support four player co-op. Not only does this graphically look like it is shaping up to be a great game, the story and gameplay sound very intriguing. I wonder if the stories of the past that you play through will eventually have a major connection to your character's own history.
What I really want to see if a lot of creativity and variety in what you can use in your variety as magic sacrifices. It opens up some open-world exploration possibilities to drive players to seek out new objects. In addition to co-op, if objects will be stored in an inventory, having a trading feature may further encourage multiplayer. Soul Sacrifice should be a great action game for PS Vita. For more screenshots, check out Famitsu.com
A new Tales game is coming from Namco Bandai according to a teaser in the most recent issue of Jump magazine in Japan. No release date, price, full title, or platform has been announced. Only certain thing is that it will be an RPG. No surprise there, but at least you can take a sigh of relief that it isn't a Tales third-person shooter or any other nonsense.
Another New Tales Game Announced and is Heading to Android
Unrelated to the above news for a new main Tales game, a different new Tales game titled Tales of the World: Tactics Union is heading to Android! As its name suggests, this game will be a strategy RPG, different than previous Tales games. Plus, your party will consist of characters from previous games in the series! So far, the confirmed characters are Lloyd Irving (Tales of Symphonia), Norma Beatty (Tales of Legendia), Guy Cecil (Tales of the Abyss), Natalia L.K. Lanvaldear ()Tales of the Abyss), Rubia Natwick (Tales of Tempest), Flynn Scifo (Tales of Vesperia), Sophie (Tales of Graces), and Asbel Lhant (Tales of Graces). Two new characters have been created for Tales of the World: Tactics Union as mascots: star-shaped Terun and moon-shaped Nahato (pictured below).
While the game itself is free, be prepared to shell out a monthly fee of 390 yen (about $5) for the Android service KDDI's Smart Pass AU Program required to own the game. Furthermore, there will be microtransactions for featured items. Namco Bandai wants your money!
Idolm@ster, Hatsune Miku, Monster Hunter, & Doraemon To Be In New Taiko Drum Master
As a marketing major, you learn about cross-promoting and creating synergy. Namco Bandai is doing exactly those things in their new Taiko Drum Master game for the Nintendo 3DS. Popular idol manager simulator Idolm@ster is not a surprising franchise to appear since it is Namco Bandai's franchise. Idolm@ster songs and other content have appeared in other Namco Bandai games such as Ace Combat, Ridge Racer, and Happy Dance Collection.
The other franchises making guest appearances are outside of Namco Bandai: popular virtual idol Hatsune Miku with her Vocaloid friends (Sega), Monster Hunter (Capcom) and the long-time running, classic Japanese cartoon Doraemon. Not only will characters from all four of these franchises be featured, but naturally songs from each of them. Sounds like a lot of fun and surely will entice Japanese gamers!
The upcoming fourth DLC pack for PS Vita game Touch My Katamari will feature the two main characters, Rin and Daikichi, from the hit anime and manga Usagi Drop. The Loose Collaboration Project DLC pack will be released in Japan on May 24 and features a new extra mission in a festival for Katamari fans. I guess Rin and/or Daikichi like Katamari!
For those unfamiliar, Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop translated) is a manga by Yumi Unita about a 30 year old salary man named Daikichi who takes in his grandfather's illegitimate child, a little girl named Rin, after his grandfather passes away. It was skillfully adapted into an anime by Production IG (Ghost in the Shell, Eden of the East) last year. It's an amazing show that is a lot more tasteful, touching, and heartwarming than a lot of anime today, which probably why it was one of the best anime series of 2011. Definitely a show worth checking out and I think even people who don't usually watch anime would like it. I absolutely adore it! Usagi Drop is streaming for free on Crunchyroll and NIS America will be releasing the whole series as a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack on August 7th.
Kotomon iOS Game Available Now and Produced by Rez, Lumines, and Child of Eden Veterans
"Dancing! Monsters! Shooting! Action!" That's the catch phrase of Kotomon (iOS) the first game by Monstars Inc. There is quite a pedigree behind Kotomon's development. The studio founder Osamu Kodera worked on the boss fights of Rez and served as the main director of Child of Eden and is the planner and programmer of Kotomon. Two other Child of Eden veterans worked on the game: producer Sawako Yamamoto (producer of Child of Eden) and director Eiichiro Ishige (game design director on Child of Eden).
In Kotomon, the player moves the Kotomon character with his finger. The gameplay features capturing monsters to shoot at enemies. Monsters have different abilities that range from pinball like movement to fire-breathing or impact detonation. And of course this wouldn't be a game from people who worked on Rez and Child of Eden without music! Various gameplay actions will add beats and rhythm to the in-game music. If you're interested, Kotomon is available on iTunes ¥350 yen or $2.99.
Atlus needs to just give us Persona 5 already! In the meantime, this week sees the release of Persona 2: Eternal Punishment for PSP and later this summer will be Persona 4 Golden. This game is an enhanced remake of the original PlayStation game which was the second and last game in the Persona 2 story. Remake? Doesn't matter - Persona is a strong enough brand. There are probably plenty of people who didn't play it and who have PSPs. That's why Persona 2: Eternal Punishment for PSP is my choice for most anticipated release this week.
This is another big game release in Japan this week, based on the popular light novel and anime series Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawai Wake ga Nai ("My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute") or Oreimo for short. Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawai Wake ga Nai Portable ga Tsuzuku Wake ga Nai ("My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute Can't Be Continuing") is a sequel to the previous PSP game. The Oreimo anime is streaming for free on Crackle and Crunchyroll.
Ladies, this game for you!
A new entry in the Exorcism of Maria series.
A 3DS Pachinko game! It's like being at the parlor!
Other games out this week: Bunmei Kaika Aoiza Ibunroku Saien